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Why should I stick around your community?

tommydamic68

Well-known member
#1
I have been running my community for about 5 years. It is a very small niche, however, there is not another on the net like it as far as a forum here in the USA. My question is, if you are your own niche or there are 50 other sites like yours out there - how are you any different then the others? Why should I hang around your site when there are many more just like it…

What do you do to keep members involved? Here are just a few things I do.

1. Have a forum game area. Here are a few:

Change a letter - a member starts with a word - lets ay pack, the next member changes the first letter, perhaps to jack..and so on.

Google it- A member starts by posting a photo then they will tell the next person what to google and post a silly photo of.

2. Daily photo thread - My site is about cats so I do a daily photo of a members cat with a funny saying on the photo using Gimp or Photoshop and create a daily thread.

3. Cat of the month - I also do a monthly "Cat of the Month" and highlight it for the entire month in the sidebar area with a photo of the cat and link to the "Cat of the month" thread.

4. Monthly newsletter.

What are some things you do to be "different?"
 

wedgar

Well-known member
#2
This topic is the 'holy grail' for all forums! How to get members to return and to contribute postings or articles.

We changed over from another forum software to xF a little over a month ago because the first forum software we had was not working properly. xF has made a big difference and we are starting to see previous members return. Having your forum software working is a BIG factor.

The largest segment of my forums is a resource for amateur radio clubs.

One of the more difficult tasks for clubs is having enough material for putting your club newsletter together.

We created a resource category where club newsletter editors can upload articles to be shared by other club newsletter editors as long as the originating author and newsletter get credit in the newsletter using the article. I'm expecting to see more use from this forum as more newsletter editors get word of it.

We've also discussed posting a monthly crossword puzzle relating to amateur radio for clubs to use in their own newsletters.

Another resource category has presentations for club meetings. Trying to come up with a monthly topic for a club meeting can be difficult at times -or- you've got a speaker who has to cancel at the last minute. Clubs can download a presentation to use meetings at those times.

I like the idea of your daily photo thread and Cat of the Month. Are these uploaded into a forum, or do you use the resource manager for that?

Of course with cats, you've got an endless supply of opportunities. :)

Great discussion idea!
 

tommydamic68

Well-known member
#3
This topic is the 'holy grail' for all forums! How to get members to return and to contribute postings or articles.

We changed over from another forum software to xF a little over a month ago because the first forum software we had was not working properly. xF has made a big difference and we are starting to see previous members return. Having your forum software working is a BIG factor.

The largest segment of my forums is a resource for amateur radio clubs.

One of the more difficult tasks for clubs is having enough material for putting your club newsletter together.

We created a resource category where club newsletter editors can upload articles to be shared by other club newsletter editors as long as the originating author and newsletter get credit in the newsletter using the article. I'm expecting to see more use from this forum as more newsletter editors get word of it.

We've also discussed posting a monthly crossword puzzle relating to amateur radio for clubs to use in their own newsletters.

Another resource category has presentations for club meetings. Trying to come up with a monthly topic for a club meeting can be difficult at times -or- you've got a speaker who has to cancel at the last minute. Clubs can download a presentation to use meetings at those times.

I like the idea of your daily photo thread and Cat of the Month. Are these uploaded into a forum, or do you use the resource manager for that?

Of course with cats, you've got an endless supply of opportunities. :)

Great discussion idea!
Yes- it's a thread in the forums- in both instances. Also, we "interview" the cat of the month and share that in the same thread. The interview consists of - where the kitty is from, how old they are, what treats are their favorites, etc. A bit of info so other members get some info on that kitty, we also link to the members profile to have other members interact on profile pages, follow the members, view photos etc.
 

wedgar

Well-known member
#4
Yes- it's a thread in the forums- in both instances. Also, we "interview" the cat of the month and share that in the same thread. The interview consists of - where the kitty is from, how old they are, what treats are their favorites, etc. A bit of info so other members get some info on that kitty, we also link to the members profile to have other members interact on profile pages, follow the members, view photos etc.
That's very good. I like that.
 

xIsabel38

Well-known member
#5
Well first I have to say that with that Avatar I didn't expect you to like Kitties!

My Site is an EverQuest Site so there are about 1,000,000 more on the web and I haven't even launched yet so there's no telling if all of this will work at all. What I've found from looking at a bunch of them is that most of them are simply a forum, an information resource (like a wiki), a blog site, or a raido/podcast type show. That's all great and they do what they do best.

My site isn't about any of that. I'm not about to try and step on toes so If you want a wiki, we'll point you to one of those. What we instead focus on is the gaming community and performing in game activities. Championship Tournaments for the PvPers out there, foot races, and scavenger hunts for the non-PvPers out there. And that's just to start, more will come in time. Is it hard? Absolutely! There's a lot of effort that goes into it. Recording the video, editing and uploading the video, steaming it live, running it, making sure everyone is on the same page and understands everything, the list goes on and on.

But I have experience with that, I have done it before with another game and got so good at it that the game company, Sony Online Entertainment actually approached me to create an event with them, jointly.

So that's the difference of my site in a nutshell and partly why I believe most users will stay tuned. But we also do offer other things to keep them vested.

The game utilizes a virtual currency item called Station Cash and we offer it out on a monthly basis using the raffle add-on by @Snog.
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Of course this is all in theory. When I do launch live I hope to get plenty of Feedback to tweak, add, and modify some things.
 

tommydamic68

Well-known member
#11
You have to have good content. That's what keeps people coming back for more.
Yes of course, thats the core, any descent site must have this to get off the ground - it brings the members to your forum. But after that, where do you differ from the rest is my point I guess…After they view and get the info needed from your "content" do they stick around and become members and contribute to the site and create a "community?"
 

DRE

Well-known member
#17
Most of my members come from forums I was on that died. To answer your question all I gotta say is look around and if you see something you like, join and if not, oh well.
 

tommydamic68

Well-known member
#18
Contests with awesome prizes provided by forum sponsors.. It's what got my site off the ground initially. We have and still do give out some of the sweetest custom dog collars around..
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We also do contests with prizes a few times a year as well as a Secret Santa that members truly look forward to. The contests are based around photo contests during the main holiday seasons.
 

tommydamic68

Well-known member
#20
How does the Secret Santa work on a forum?
We have a 25 dollar minimal/ max dollar amount. Members buy presents for one another based off of "hint" threads that members leave around the Site or on their profile pages. We manage who has who then supply each member with their SS 's address on where to mail the gift. and that's about it. Is quite the pain but they like it.